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USDA Extends Deadline for Emergency Conservation Program Applications from California Producers

Funding Available to Help Restore Lands to Pre-Disaster Condition, Replace or Repair Fencing 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the deadline for accepting Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) applications from California agricultural producers who need assistance to address damages from severe storms that occurred during December 2022 to April 2023. All counties in California were approved to implement ECP for damage caused by severe storms/flooding.  The application deadline has been extended to December 29, 2023.

“We understand the extent of the damage caused by these severe storms and the catastrophic and widespread impacts of these disasters on California’s agricultural communities,” said Blong Xiong, State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in California. “This deadline extension will give producers more time to apply for emergency assistance and rebuild with resiliency.”

ECP provides financial assistance to producers to help them restore their farmland to pre-disaster conditions. Approved ECP applicants may receive up to 75% of the cost of an approved restoration activity. Limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and beginning farmers and ranchers may receive up to 90% cost-share. The payment limitation for ECP is $500,000 per disaster event.

The approved ECP practices under this authorization for recovery include:

  • Removing debris from farmland;
  • Grading, shaping, releveling, or similar measures;
  • Replacing or repairing permanent fences; and
  • Restoring conservation structures and other installations

Producers with damage from such events must apply for assistance prior to beginning reconstructive work. They must also work with FSA to complete the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and environmental compliance review process. before they begin reconstructive work. If a producer submits an ECP application after reconstructive work has been completed, their eligibility for program benefits may be adversely impacted.

FSA county committees will evaluate applications based on an applicant’s estimate or measurement of the damaged land, taking into consideration the type and extent of the damage. On-site visits will be required for every ECP application. Applying for ECP assistance does not guarantee that cost-share funding will be provided.

The use of ECP funds is limited to activities to return the land to the relative pre-disaster condition. Conservation concerns that were present on the land prior to the disaster are not eligible for ECP assistance.

More Information

For more information on ECP, please contact your local FSA office or visit farmers.gov/recover. To find your local FSA office visit farmers.gov/service-center-locator.

Additional USDA disaster assistance can be found on farmers.gov, including the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Loan Assistance Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and NRCS programs, they should contact their local USDA Service Center.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.